Many students have probably heard the line, “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket” from the popular song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The music video, shot in a thrift store, has received over 80 million views on YouTube since its release in October. The song and its hit video have brought light to an industry that many tend to overlook — antiques and secondhand thrift stores.
“I think the song is causing an increase in business and an increase in popularity,” said Greg Schaulis, freshman in marketing. “A lot more of my friends talk about it now than they used to.”
While the song might have brought new attention to secondhand and antique stores, the art of reselling gently used items is far from new. Manhattan contains a number of shops that sell used items ranging from vinyl records and eight-tracks to clothing, appliances and furniture, many discounted below retail price.
Roger Andres, owner of Grand Ol’ Trunk Thrift Shop, says his store sells pretty much anything one could imagine. He described the shop, located at 1304 Pillsbury Drive, as a catch-all for used items and antiques.
“Here, we’ve just got a little bit of everything,” Andres said. “I don’t just carry one thing. I don’t just carry antiques. I don’t just carry knickknacks. I have everything: furniture, antiques, collectibles, miscellaneous spoons, forks and knives, pots and pans — the whole bit.”
Although he said he hasn’t heard the song “Thrift Shop,” he did say he’s noticed a definite increase in college students and young adults in his store, many of them hunting for items for date parties and themed parties.
For Andres, the best part about being in the business is the constant uncertainty of what — or who — will come through his doors every day. His customers, he said, are as varied and unique as the items they bring in.
“It’s just like Christmas every day,” Andres said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to get in, and the people too. You get to meet a lot of neat people and deal with a lot of neat people.”
Another Manhattan thrift store is Rockstar & Rogers. Located at 1120 Moro Street in Aggieville, the shop buys and sells brand-name used clothing items, as well as new merchandise like costumes and posters.
“What we buy are, obviously, clothing brands,” said Brittney Provenzano, an employee at the store. “We tell people how much we’ll pay for it, but the new stuff we just buy in bulk — it’s usually whatever the owners decide is interesting.”
She said Rockstar & Rogers sells only high-quality used clothes that shoppers can wear right off the shelf.
“A lot of the stuff doesn’t even look like it’s been used,” Provenzano said. “We wash our clothes before we put them out. They look good. I would definitely say to come here before you spend a bunch of money at a place when you could just spend a couple of dollars here.”
Randy Hutchings, sophomore in secondary education and social studies, is a frequent shopper at Rockstar & Rogers.
“I come in probably around twice a week,” Hutchings said. “I like eccentric places like this, and it’s practical on top of anything else. I’m wearing this jacket and it’s Tommy Bahama, but I got it for nine bucks. It was probably about a hundred bucks [at retail price].”
Hutchings also shared advice as an experienced thrift shopper for people looking into thrift stores.
“Anybody in my situation — a student or whatever — can score a lot of good deals,” Hutchings said. “It’s all there waiting for them, and it’s very practical. … My dad is a clothier, so I have a couple different introspects on the industry. It’s just a lot cheaper. Value is key here.”
Whether you’re looking at shopping thriftily because of the
song or for the experience of sorting through a room of treasures for your perfect find, you can find valuable deals by
digging through the shelves and clothing racks at any thrift or antique shop.
Joseph Wenberg is a sophomore in public relations. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.